NY Lawmakers Rushing to Pass Gambling Bills before Break

With the clock ticking down on the New York legislative session, which ends on June 6, lawmakers are rushing to finalize and vote on a package of gambling bills that would significantly reshape the state's gaming landscape. The proposals address a range of issues, from expanding casino licenses to regulating sports betting and ensuring responsible gambling practices.

The Statue of Liberty against a New York City background. (Source: Facebook)

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One of the most significant bills, Senate Bill S9673, sponsored by Sen. Joe Addabbo, has undergone a key amendment. In the early morning hours of June 5, Sen. Addabbo proposed a change that would require the New York Gaming Facility Location Board to issue recommendations on selecting locations for downstate casinos by December 31, 2025. This amendment provides a more realistic timeline for the application and selection process, allowing for a more thorough review and public input.

While the casino bill inches closer to the finish line, another piece of legislation, the gambling ad ban bill, remains in a holding pattern. The Assembly and Senate have already approved the bill, which aims to restrict advertising for online sports betting. However, Governor Kathy Hochul has yet to take a final stance on the bill. Her signature is crucial for the ad ban to become law.

Prop Bets, Increased Age Limit on the Table

Beyond these two high-profile bills, lawmakers are also considering proposals that focus on specific aspects of legalized gambling. Senate Bill S8777, for instance, would allow sportsbooks in New York to offer season-long proposition bets and award futures. This would open up new avenues for sports fans to wager on their favorite teams and athletes.

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Another critical piece of legislation is Senate Bill S1557, which proposes raising the minimum gambling age in New York from 18 to 21. Currently, individuals over 18 can legally wager on horse races, but not other forms of gambling. This bill seeks to align the gambling age with most other states and ensure responsible participation in gaming activities.

Responsible Gambling Bill Ensures Protection

Recognizing the potential pitfalls of increased gambling opportunities, lawmakers are also prioritizing responsible gambling practices. Senate Bill S8439 addresses this concern by mandating that 1% of all annual sports betting revenue in the state, with a minimum of $6 million, be directed towards problem gambling education and treatment programs. This dedicated funding stream will be crucial for providing resources to those struggling with gambling addiction.

Today will be crucial for the fate of these gambling bills. With the legislative session coming to an end, lawmakers face the challenge of finalizing deliberations and securing enough votes to pass these proposals before the end of the day.


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